Concealed Carry and Movies - Five Cinema Characters that Conceal Carry
Sure, Dirty Harry is the quintessential bad-guy/good-guy cop who takes justice into his own hands on and off duty. However, for the majority of us wandering around with a concealed carry permit, we're not wondering if today will be our lucky day. Let's take a look at popular cinema and see how concealed carrying is depicted versus reality.
Sorry, Star Wars fans – we all know Solo shot first. For the purpose of discussion, we're discounting gangsters, police officers, space cadets, and Starship Troopers – just contemporary set movies in which a character wields a concealed carry pistol or revolver.
A History of Violence (2005)
Attribution: A History of Violence 2005
Starring Viggo Mortensen as Tom Stall, a reclusive, peaceful man trying to live a normal life – this movie sets off on a darker tone of what it means to protect one's family and way of life. Unfortunately for the main characters (and fortunate for those of us in the audience), Viggo Mortensen does a decent job of negotiating a no-win scenario. Mortensen's character, Tom, manages to demonstrate a decent understanding of how to properly handle a concealed carry weapon.
Reality Check: In A History of Violence, Tom Stall would actually be in the legal right under the Castle Doctrine laws of rural Indiana (where the movie was set) to engage armed opponents on his front lawn. If it was set in New York state, however, Castle Doctrine wouldn't be readily applied.
Man on Fire (2004)
Attribution: Man on Fire
Denzel Washington plays a retired CIA operative turned bodyguard in this tale of violent redemption. Throughout the movie, Washington's character Johyn Creasy demonstrates the proper usage of a concealed firearm and – unlike History of Violence – actually shows proper holstering and unholstering from an inside the waistband concealed carry holster.
Reality Check: Mexico does not recognize United States resident concealed carry permits and all small arms must be registered, stamped, and announced when traveling through Mexican customs. So, even if you are an ex-CIA operative with plenty of years of marksmanship, don't go to Mexico to take up the bodyguard trade.
Leon: The Professional (1994)
Attribution: Leon The Professional
How could we forget the first time we saw Natalie Portman on the big screen? Violent, emotionally raw, and fast paced – Leon does a great job of living the motto “fast is slow and slow is steady”. Unfortunately for Leon, fast reflexes are never a match for a truly sinister Detective Stansfield (Gary Oldman).
Reality Check: Carrying a concealed, unregistered firearm is an immediate felony offense in New York City. Immediate “Go to Jail, Don't Collect $200”. Sorry, Mathilda.
No Country for Old Men (2007)
Attribution: No Country for Old Men
This four time Oscar awarded movie is no easy film to sit through. Gripping, dark, and extremely accurate in terms of ballistic accounts – No Country for Old Men follows the three separate tales of an aging Sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones), a psychopath (Javier Bardem), and a well-meaning, resourceful Texan (Josh Brolin). In terms of CCW activity, obviously Llewelyn Moss (Brolin) was one of the few characters to demonstrate proper knowledge of firearms and firearm safety. True to the character of Texans who are brought up being resourceful and knowledgeable about firearms, he always checks his weapons to see if they're loaded and makes sure he doesn't point at anything he doesn't intend to shoot. He just needs to be more careful about picking up unattended luggage.
Reality Check: Texas is one of the most liberal in terms of criteria for getting a resident concealed carry permit. They are a “Shall Pass” state and carry a proud tradition of concealed carry amongst residents. Though, traveling into Texas – you ought check to make sure your resident concealed carry permit is accepted. They are notoriously picky about who they let carry a firearm if you're not from Texas.
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Attribution: There Will Be Blood
Daniel Plainview, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, is simply a man with a vision and the iron-clad means to achieve that vision. However, when beset with the inequity of man all about him, he must carve out his empire through a sea of oil thirsty tycoons, thieves, and prophets. Winning two Oscars and certainly known for great acting and set design, There Will Be Blood also features the main character with a concealed carry weapon. Revolvers are especially useful for long hikes in the woods.
Reality Check: The movie takes place in the early 20th century – long before concealed carry weapon permits were readily issued or available. As such, there was almost no prohibition against anybody carrying one outside of felons and foreigners. That said, don't ever be the person trying to convince Daniel Plainview you're his long lost brother or sister – no matter how good the money may seem.
About The Author
James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.